The Midnight Train
Safety in numbers
Going home on the subway at night was not Chet’s idea of a fun time.
But once or twice a year he had to do it for work. Usually it was when a co-worker needed off on short notice so Chet volunteered for the double time pay.
The extra work and long hours was never the problem.
Going to the subway and getting home that late at night was the problem.
Chet had heard many stories of strong-arm muggings and robberies that troubled him. He had been in the city for four years but he really only knew small town life. Life in the Big City was much different than the casual small town he grew up in. The best advice he got living in the city was “if you look like a victim, you’ll be a victim.” It was much easier said than done.
This week, though, Chet volunteered to work a full week of the 3-11 shift, which would put him in the subway at 11:15 each night. Double-time pay for the usual amount of work. Not bad. The thought of taking the train each night at that time terrified him, but he kept an open mind.
The night flew by, and as he made his way to the subway he tried not to look like the victim.
Turns out, the subway platform was packed that time of night. All the cleaning ladies from the high- and mid-rise buildings also got off at 11.
His trip home traveled through an Eastern European section of town. All the cleaning ladies were Polish, Czech, Russian, and Hungarian and none of them were frail. He didn’t speak a lick of any of those languages, but he was confident there was strength in numbers. Most could have bench pressed 300 pounds without breaking a sweat.
Chet nonchalantly sandwiched himself among the cleaning women, which wasn’t hard to do because there were so many of them. In order for the bad guys to get to him, they’d have to go through them first. The sheer volume of women was a deterrent to criminal activity. Sure, the bad guys could grab a purse or two, but at what cost? It just wouldn’t have been worth it.
For this week, Chet could relax a bit going home.
Just don’t ask him to work the 11-7 shift because then he’d be on his own for sure.